Alimony is obligatory for the partner, and for children under 21. The amount payable in child alimony can be determined by the ex-partners, who can include it in a divorce agreement. If necessary the courts decide. When children turn 18, they receive the alimony themselves. Paying alimony is no longer obligatory for children who are financially independent.
The ex-partners can in principle agree on partner alimony and included it in a divorce agreement. If this fails, the courts can determine the amount of partner alimony, depending on the need for alimony of the partner who requires financial support, and on the income of the partner who must pay the alimony. The legal obligation to pay alimony to the ex-partner exists for 12 years at most. If the marriage lasted less than five years and there are no children, the obligation cannot last longer than the marriage. When the ex-partner receiving alimony remarries of starts living with another partner, the other ex-partner is no longer obliged to pay alimony. When the income situation of the alimony recipient improves drastically, this may also have consequences for the alimony.
There are plans to reduce the maximum length of partner alimony to five years in future.